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Karen Read Murder Trial Recap, Week 2: We're 10 Days in and the Prosecution Hasn't Started Proscecuting Yet

For the broad strokes of the case against Karen Read, accused of killing her boyfriend Boston Police officer John O'Keefe, click here

For a recap of the first week of testimony, click here. Warning: Sports metaphors ahead. 

As these court proceedings began, I said that a trial is less like a boxing match where the two sides sort of feel each other out in the first few rounds. It's much more like October baseball when you get to set up your rotation and send your Ace to the mound in Game 1. We're now at the end of second week of testimony and it seems to me the Commonwealth has yet to establish any sort of guilt. If anything, they are treating this like a 12-round bout and there's no reason to go for a knockout. 

Sure, they spent the better part of Week 1 talking to the first responders who came upon a dying Officer O'Keefe lying in the snow outside of 34 Fairview Road in the snowy early morning hours of January 29th, 2022. And threw a few haymakers of them testifying Read kept repeating "I hit him! I hit him!" But the defense easily blocked those punches with the glove of getting all the witnesses to admit that important evidence never made it into their incident reports, their statements to State Police lead investigator Michael Proctor, or their Grand Jury testimony. It's reasonable to assume a piece of vital information like that might've come up in conversation a time or two in the last 28 months. But the only first responders who've been consistently telling the same story all this time were the ones who testified the never heard her say "I hit him." 

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So far the Commonwealth hasn't presented any solid proof Read murdered her boyfriend. They haven't provided or even suggested a motive. They haven't given jurors basis for why they should I might be sounding harsh toward the prosecutors. And I wouldn't blame you if you think that's unfair. I'm a former MA Trial Court badge monkey who couldn't try a case if my life depended on it. I burp the alphabet into a keyboard all day and my last blog was about 8-foot aliens appearing in a back yard in Las Vegas. So don't go by me. Listen to the frustration of this local news legal analyst who hasn't done any outside research, only listened to the evidence presented. And like she said at the time, the Commonwealth had called 22 witnesses (it's more now) and all we found out was that Read and O'Keefe had a great relationship:

But more on that in a bit. I'll try to keep this more or less chronological. 

--When we left off last week, Canton EMT Katie McLaughlin called Caitlin Albert (daughter of Boston PD Brian Albert and his wife Nicole, who were home at 34 Fairview while O'Keefe was dying on their front lawn), "an acquaintance." And the defense was asking to show the jury a photo of the two of them together. This week kicked off with the defense trying get her charged with perjury after a weekend in which more than 40 such photos hit the internet. Them at the beach together. At spring break together. In a kitchen together. At a bridal shower together just a few weeks before O'Keefe was killed. 

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As I told my buddy who lived in Canton for years, we've been friends since first grade, and don't have this many pictures together. And probably half that we've ever taken were class pictures in elementary school. 

This is significant because McLaughlin is one of the ones who identified Read as admitting she hit O'Keefe with her car that night. And the fact so many people involved in this investigation have close ties to the Albert family - or are casual "acquaintances" with a strong habit of posing for photos on the rare occasions they're in the same place - is what has so many people distrusting the whole case. And what's made it such a national story. 

--To clear something up I was sort of sarcastically confused about last week, the Canton police who searched the crime scene said they used a leaf blower to look for evidence. Which seemed to me like line Belloq says in Raiders of the Lost Ark about using a bulldozer to find a china cup. But to be fair to them, they showed video of how it works. And it carefully cleared the snow away in layers. Think more like the way paleontologists brush dirt away to uncover dinosaur bones. So my apologies on that. I still stand by what I said before, which is it defies logical that a convoy of police cruisers, firetrucks and ambulances can appear on a quiet suburban street and unleash the ear-splitting, Noise Statute-violating, jet engine-like whirlwind of a leaf blower on a pre-dawn Saturday morning and have no one come out to see what the fuss is about. 

--But again, there was an extreme lack of curiosity from the people in the neighborhood toward the emergency vehicles, and from the officers who rolled up in those vehicles to the neighbors:

As a lawyer friend of mine pointed out, you don't need probable cause. Nor do you need a judge to issue a search warrant. You simply need to ask the residents for their permission. And that every cruiser is equipped with consent forms, just to get their permission in writing. It's like how in Buffy a vampire can't enter your house unless you invite them in. Because even the undead army of the night have rules they have to follow. Only police asking to search a home is even easier.

--That said, the leaf blower video didn't do the prosecution's case any favors. Because as everyone pointed out, it appears to show them uncovering a clear cocktail glass O'Keefe was supposedly carrying, but no broken pieces of taillight from Read's SUV. When it's claimed by the Commonwealth there are 46 such in evidence. 

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Including this one that, using the footprint it's lying on top of for scale, looks to be about the length of a Size 8 shoe:

--Worse still, a Canton PD Lieutenant testified that while they were trying to remove the taillight, it shattered:

Credit where it's due, I don't ask the men and women who study and train to run into danger and risk their lives to protect the lives and property of the rest of us to be handy at replacing auto parts. They're not working the pits at the Daytona 500. Or Jiffy Lube, for that matter. But when they're handling evidence that could lead to a conviction in the killing of a fellow police officer, it's not a big ask that they take better care than going all butterfingers and destroying plastic taillights that are central to their investigation. 

--Nor is it too much to ask that the gang at CSI: Canton keep their reports consistent. This investigation was, to put it mildly, controversial from the beginning. People have been suspicious of a coverup from the jump. And the stakes are as high as they could possibly be. So it's required an extra level of care. Meaning you don't give an already skeptical public the suggestion you've pulled The Ol' Switcheroo:

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--But the evidence-handling fouls went way beyond a case of the dropsies. They gathered Officer O'Keefe's blood in the snow at the scene. In red Solo cups, placed into a paper bag from Stop & Shop. I know that sounds like something you say to be a wiseass. Nice goin', Columbo. What'd you do? Collect the blood samples in red Solo cups? Wakka wakka. But they literally did that. The jury was presented the video. Again, and as hard as this is to believe, as presented by the prosecution:

--Adding more fuel to the Canton Coverup theorists' (I'm avoiding all the use of the pejorative "conspiracy") fire is that the cups and bag were borrowed from a police officer who lived across the street. Worse, these images were taken on February 1st. Meaning three days after Officer O'Keefe died. And these red Solo cupped, bloody versions of a Dairy Queen Mr. Misty were sitting right next to the very taillight of the very SUV that is the Commonwealth's murder weapon. Take note of the white rag laying there. The internet certainly has. 

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As have the defense attorneys, who have tried to suggest through their questioning that keeping a rag next to a murder victim's blood sample right around the time you find said victim's DNA on the car in question is what the kids (who don't have time for multi-syllabic words) call sus

--Getting back to any possible motive Read may have had for killing her boyfriend, the testimony this week was so much in Read's favor, you had to keep reminding yourself these were prosecution witnesses. Everything they said not only made them sound like a normal, stable couple, it made you wonder if even your best friends would ever say such nice things about you under oath:

Keep in mind, "the kids" refers to O'Keefe's niece and nephew, whom he and Read took in when each of their parents died. So this friction (if you want to call it that) was over her spoiling children that she's not related to, but was helping to raise. And whatever tension they might have had was not on display on the only night that matters in all this:

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In fact, the only relationship problems testified to was how their PDA got one Commonwealth witness in trouble with his own wife for not giving her that kind of attention:

Again, I have to remind you, and myself, these are the witnesses the state has called to make the case for Guilt in a murder case. 

--A huge revelation this for the people who've spent the last two-plus years obsessing over all the details, asking questions, and probably instigating the federal inquiry into all this, is the presence of 18-year-old Colin Albert, Brian and Nicole Albert's nephew. For a while now, the anti-Read side has insisted that the former Bridgewater State University (my alma mater, but who cares) athlete was nowhere near the scene of the crime. But that claim was contradicted by his own father:

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Chris Albert, as was noted in cross-examination, is a Canton Selectman. (That's a version of a Town Council in a lot of Massachusetts towns that don't have a Mayor.) Meaning he has oversight over all city departments, not the least of which is the police, fire, and EMTs. 

--In spite of all of this, it would be slanted, biased, and unfair if I didn't include the perspective of the people reaching out to me who sincerely believe Karen Read is guilty, the Alberts are as devastated by O'Keefe's death as anyone, and they're being dragged into this by crackpots on the internet without a shred of evidence:

--Before we end this, let me just add that this trial has presented Masshole culture to the world like few things ever have. Watch the national coverage and you'll see it for yourself. The rest of the country can't get past the little nuances like an aunt bringing Dunks to the kids in a blizzard at 6am. A group text shaming a guy into coming out to the bar by calling him "a pussy." And it worked. That same text mentioning that "Sully" was going to be there. (Fact: I grew up in Norfolk County and spend most of my time there. And if you walk into any random pub and yell "Sully!", 27% of guys there will turn around.) They way they pronounce "argument." And how often that word comes up in everyday conversation. And last but not least, the fact that one of today's witnesses pronounced a State Trooper's name. She used the nickname the above referenced @DoctorTurtleboy has been using for him all this time:

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Only in Massachusetts. 

--Finally, while we're all busy trying to sort this out, and even have laughs like "Trooper Bukkake" or whatever, we need to keep reminding ourselves what this is all about. A brave public servant, a member of Boston's Finest who served with distinction, was taken in the prime of his life. More over, he's someone who took in his niece and nephew and raised them as his own. And those children have been orphaned for a second time. 

Pray for the repose of the soul of Police Officer John O'Keefe. And let justice be done though the heavens fall.